Tuesday, May 7, 2019

A Hobbit Day - Inklings Week 2019

Even though the hobbits drive me a little crazy in the works of Tolkien (everyone just keep your hands to yourself! Don't start a fire when you're trying to be sneaky! Stop drinking too much and telling people things, THE RING'S DISAPPEARING ACT IS NOT A TRICK YOU SHOW PEOPLE AT THE PUB).


Good gravy, no joke Elf Lord.


However, life in the Shire sounds preeeetttty good. The hobbits and I are alike in a lot of ways, just wanting the finer things like: eating, drinking good beer, and hanging out with friends until the wee hours.  

Which got me thinking: "Man, with all the eating and drinking and friend time, how do you get anything else done?"  If it was me it would be a lot of sticky notes, reminders in my phone, and an alarm or two. But honestly, something tells me that the hobbits don't live and die by their bullet journals and efficiency apps - but if they did I feel like it would like this.

6:45am : Slap the alarm off of the nightstand and wander into the kitchen scratching and belching. Almost slept through breakfast. That was a close one.

7:00am: Breakfast - chow down on leftovers from last night's supper. Ugggghhh it's going to be a busy one, should probably get a move on it. Wander out to the garden to pull some weeds and do some gathering of whatever looks ripe and delicious. But gosh, doesn't that sun feel great on your hairy hobbit toes and your (somehow) hairless face? Maybe we just stretch out on the grass just for a quick nap..........snoooooooree....

8:30am: Wake with a start as a caterpillar sneaks across your forehead. By Gandalf's beard, did you almost sleep through another meal? We need to get our priorities straight...and maybe plant some Valerian Root or something. Wander into the house with your hastily gathered veggies and throw them in a basket. You've got to trade those later on in this incredibly busy day but since it's right around 9:00am you better get on with Second Breakfast because you're not as young as you used to be and you have to keep that stamina up.



Yeah, what about it?

10:00am:  After eating Second Breakfast over the sink because you realize you haven't washed dishes in a few days you decide you can probably put some in the sink to soak (look at you, adulting so hard) and will wash them later. Right now you have to see your distant cousin who lives  at the other side of Bag's End about making a trade for your home grown goodness in exchange for HIS home brewed goodness. It's kind of a hike so you should probably get to getting.

11:15am: Um, okay, how did that walk take longer since the last time you walked it? And now you're hot and sweaty and cranky and your carrots look droopy and just.so.thirsty. Luckily your cousin has a chair in the shade waiting for you to sample some of his fine ale and have a little snicker snack for Elevensies. Even if it's closer to like ElevensiesTwenty when you're done. After several samples and a snack you know you should talk business but that breeze sure feels nice and you already here your cousin's thunderous snores and decide, yeah, let's take a nap and wheel and deal when we are firing on all cylinders. You eventually get shaken awake for an early lunch, and then after some hard negotiating find yourself tottering home with a small cask of ale underneath each arm. Which is good news because you're having a couple of people over for dinner that night - it's not going to be an all night bender but you have a reputation to uphold and you don't want to run out of ale.

3:00pm: You are a beast! Those dishes in the sink are cleaned, you swept, you made sure there was clean ash trays for everyone's pipe ash, the casks are chilling like villains in the root cellar, you have stew simmering in the fireplace, your crudite platters are on point and you have never felt more entitled to a nice long tea.

5:59pm: Hobbits never on time unless there is free booze and food involved. #FACT #Dont@me. Dinner is off and running!

Things get......fuzzy after here.....you're assuming there was supper at about 9:00pm, and it's not just because literally every dish in your cozy kitchen is dirty AGAIN, it's also because there is no food left in your house. Dinner must have somehow turned into that all night bender it wasn't supposed to because not only are those casks empty they are dry as the eyes of Sauron. You find some sad looking radishes under an over turned bucket and decide that will serve for breakfast tomorrow, because what would you actually cook that early. As you swerve to your cozy hobbit bed you think....


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Monday, July 23, 2018

All Lady July - "The Immortalists" by Chloe Benjamin

This book started super slow for me and it took me a little while to get into the writing style but I'm glad I stuck it out. 

The four Gold children live in New York City in the late 70s, and one day the sneak out to see a mysterious woman who apparently has astounding accuracy when it comes to the date that you will die. They each are told a date. They don't share their days with each other and then no one really talks about it for at least ten years. It seems like one of those kind of throw away moments in your childhood that happen and that you don't really think about again, but even if they are consciousness of it the date that the woman tells them informs their whole life.

There is Simon who finds himself in San Fransisco, Klara who dreams of being a magician and performer - taking after a never talked about kind of disgraced relative, Daniel seems to have his shit the most together (SEEMS) as a military doctor and Varya throws herself into science that studies how long humans can live.

They each have their own chapter, but even though it's their chapter you get little bits of their siblings stories told as well. Even though their stories are all very different there are common themes in all of them - the looming presence of their parents, responsibilities to each other, trying to figure out who and what they are - and the umbrella over everything the date that the woman in that apartment told them.

There were a lot of references to Wisconsin in the last chapter and I flipped to the back of the book jacket and it turns out that the author and I only live an hour and a handful of minutes away from each other. Always good to see a local girl make good!

As I said before, it was a slow start with this book for me. But I think that the format of the chopped of chapters mostly works. And I think that each of the siblings were intriguing in very different ways. (Except for Simon, he kind of has the saddest story but he also seems like the most selfish so....I don't know. I'm conflicted about Simon.) It was also a faster read, it moved at a pretty steady clip and the cover is even pretty and simple too!

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Monday, July 16, 2018

All Lady July - "The Butterfly Garden" by Dot Hutchison

This book had been on my TBR for awhile, but my local libraries didn't have it. Until suddenly it appeared one day on the shelves...in large print...but whatever it is fine. I felt like a super speedy reader flipping those pages so fast.

We are brought into the story technically at the end. A young girl is sitting in a police station interrogation room telling what seems to be an improbable story -  a rich, respected man has a harem of kidnapped girls (literally girls, they run young) in a beautiful garden on his property. As she describes their lives to the detectives they get more baffled. Can they trust this girl? She's not very forthcoming about her life before hand. She won't even tell them her name. (The kidnapper renamed them all, because of course). The women are basically kept as pets by this man and his sadistic, terrifying oldest son. But is there any hope for their escape?


What drew me to this book was the interesting premise. There were a lot of interesting details and the descriptions were good. I always get a little nervous when there are huge casts of characters in a book (especially if they share a lot of common traits, like I don't know, are all captive young women) but the writing made it as such that it was easy enough to keep most of them straight. I thought that the descriptions of the characters were good as well - they all seemed like real people, even though they were victims of this crime they all had flaws and realistic personalities. It's not like they were saints because this bad thing happened to them.

 What kind of was disappointing to me about this book was the end. I felt like we were chugging along, feeling pretty good about it and then in like, the last 12-15 pages they try to throw in one last twist. It feels pretty forced and honestly I'm still a little bit confused about it. So I'm just going to pretend it didn't happen, that's normal right? There's also a pseudo love story that sometimes makes sense and then sometimes just feels real ick. Apparently this book is part of a series but it follows the police detectives instead of the girls. I feel like that's a little lame, so I don't think I'll pursue the rest of them.



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Thursday, July 12, 2018

All Lady Book Review - "Poseidon's Steed: The Story of Seahorses, From Myth to Reality" by Helen Scales, PhD

Is there a more perfect book for All Lady July then a nonfiction written by a female scientist about an animal that DOESN'T give birth to their young? This one ticked all the boxes I didn't even know I needed for ALJ.

I have had more conversations about seahorse mating rituals in the past month then I probably will in my whole life. 

Here are some of my favorite things that I learned in this book:

- Seahorses are notoriously hard to categorize because so many of them can change how they look at will. Like, people will think they discover a new species and then they realize "Nope, he's the same as this guy over there but this guy just made himself green. Not a new species!" So that can be incredibly frustrating to the people who study them!

- There's a region in your brain called your hippocampus (it's important for memory!) that is seahorse shaped. In Greek, hippos means horse and kampos means sea monster. You have a sea monster in your brain, don't be alarmed!

-Seahorses actually make a fair amount of noises and most of them are made by rubbing the back of the skull on a little protrusion on their neck. Scientists literally just figured this out using very high speed cameras.

- Seahorses are used in all kinds of ancient health/healing recipes. Even a natural remedy to perk up a man's lacking libido. Apparently.


-Want to see a male seahorse give birth? I gotchu, fam.








I really liked this book. I learned a lot. It was a fast read. It sparked a lot of interesting conversations.




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Monday, July 9, 2018

All Lady July - Shop til you drop!

Want to spend some cash on some great items that celebrate female writers/books/characters? I got you. Click on the picture to get to where you can purchase!











Jane Eyre











Friday, July 6, 2018

ALL LADY JULY 2018- Book review: "It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History" by Jennifer Wright

Oh did it ever!

This book wouldn't be my usual fare, but the author wrote another book I read recently about plagues and the heroes who fought them and her writing style was so fun and entertaining I knew I had to see what else she had written. So here we are! I knew I was in for a treat when Henry the 8th didn't look like the most insane person in this book. I mean, he's pretty bad when it comes to breakups (and by breakups we mean let's murder current wife and get us a new one that can give us a boy child!)

I'm not going to go into all of the couple but here's a few random highlights:

-Oscar Wilde has a chapter with Lord Alfred Douglas, if you know 2 things about Oscar Wilde it's probably that he is super quotable and witty and that he gay. A thing that I learned in this book was that Lord Alfred Douglas had an ancestor who was a cannibal. She was caught roasting a servant on a spit. (Just because you have money doesn't mean you have mental stability or class, amirite?) Also, Lord Alfred Douglas was NOT a good boyfriend.

-Did you know that when people use the phrase "keeping up with the Joneses" they are talking about Edith Wharton's family? Super duper rich. Also, literally no one would explain to her what sex was so she thought on her wedding night her husband would perform some kind of concert. Yeah. Money apparently won't buy you sex education either. That part kind of broke my heart a little. She has a happier ending then most though.

- Duckys is 16th century slang for breasts, so feel free to use that one at the bar

- Lord Byron was just the worst in so many ways. He ghosted a woman he said he was going to marry and she sent him bloody locks of her pubic hair. Feel free to NOT use that one at the bar.

- There was a Russian ruler named Anna Ivanovna and she was apparently one of Russia's worst rulers (which is saying something because, OH LORD there have been some doozies. I mean it's an old country so law of averages but yikes.) I can't wait to learn more about her. Hopefully my local reference librarians can dig me up some books about her.


This was a quick, fun book that had me laughing and made me so glad that Henry the 8th never saw the dawn of online dating.

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Friday, June 29, 2018

Announcement - All Lady July 2018!






Hi everyone!

So excited to share that it is that time of year again, All Lady July!

A time on the blog where we celebrate all things books and ladies!

There will be fun lists, things to blow your paycheck on, guest bloggers,  and obviously book reviews!

I am out of town on vacation for the first bit of July (coming atchu Houston and Austin, please don't melt me into a puddle before I get to see the Space Center!) so we will hit the ground running on the 6th when I get back (so, slightly abbreviated All Lady July!

We hope to see you around the blog!



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